For 1,308 reviews, this critic has graded:
  • 44% higher than the average critic
  • 2% same as the average critic
  • 54% lower than the average critic
On average, this critic grades 0.8 points lower than other critics. (0-100 point scale)

Rick Groen's Scores

  • Movies
  • TV
Average review score: 60
Highest review score: 100 Kafka
Lowest review score: 0 The Amityville Horror
Score distribution:
1308 movie reviews
    • 56 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    This is potentially compelling, but truncated flashbacks are far too crude a mechanism for exploring not only the intricacies of that tumultuous period in Kenyan history but also its ongoing legacy.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    A middling documentary but a magnificent indictment.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    That's partly why X-Men: First Class is such fanboy fun, as the script departs from official Marvel lore to invent a whole new "origin story" for the mutant ensemble.
    • 81 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Certainly, his (Allen) work here feels effortless, and that feather-light touch gives the picture its charm – modest but real.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The title leaves no doubt about the ending but, thanks to Santos's unflinching performance and Rodrigues's continued audaciousness, the climax still takes us aback.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Ambitious and brooding, Coogan has the darker nature; lighthearted and affable, Brydon is all sunny-side up. Happily, both possess a devilishly quick wit and the need to go beyond self-impersonation to the more celebrated variety.
    • 85 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The result actually plays like a divine pronouncement, cosmic in scope and oracular in tone, a cinematic sermon on the mount that shows its creator in exquisite form.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Crazy, Stupid, Love seems at times like a bunch of movies searching for an identity. Happily, some of them are actually worth watching.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The running time is efficient, the direction is clean, the story is simple but resonant, the effects are understated yet impressive, and the near-wordless star of the show puts on an acting clinic. Damned if the risen one doesn't lift us out of our seats.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Martin Scorsese, meet Djo Tunda Wa Munga, because you obviously have a lot in common. Viva Riva! is nothing less than the Congolese Mean Streets, oozing sexual heat and brute violence and powered by a locomotive's worth of raw kinetic energy.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    It can definitely grate on your nerves but, at best, it also gets into your mind, and sticks fast.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The crash, lethal in an eye-blink, was hard to watch when I saw it live on television, and it's not any easier here. The day was clear – no rain in sight.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Beyond the knights and rooks, Bobby Fischer Against the World tells the story of a Jewish kid raised in Brooklyn who spent his final years in exile as a fulminating anti-Semite and a raving anti-American.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The film's quiet realism demands from us our own act of faith: We're asked to watch closely and to listen intently in the promise of a greater reward to come. Well, the promise is partly kept.
    • 87 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Turning the stately game into something few can resist – a smart and lively comedy of manners.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Everyone should be thankful, if not for the doc's content, then certainly for its tone – there is no fulminating here. Instead, courtesy of Canadian co-directors Luc Côté and Patricio Henriquez, witnesses are quietly gathered and arguments are quietly made. For once, no one rants, and, in the relative calm, the tone can be heard, so muted and sad.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    As the plot moves toward the climax, where each girl is forced to make a hard choice dictated by her unique "circumstance," that feeling of compression, of so many contradictory urges and needs vying for attention, grows almost overwhelming. Such is life among the young in present-day Tehran, up on the screen for all to see – all but those who most need to see it.
    • 80 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    All that's deliberate, but the lingering question is not: Is Melancholia a sly depiction of the end we deserve, or simply a lovely load of bombast? Be prepared to choose one or the other; unless there's an extra moon in tonight's sky, it can't be both.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    For the kids, the action is always lively and, for the rest of us, the dialogue has a witty and even caustic edge.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The acting is superb, the settings are beautifully recreated, the dialogue crackles with occasional wit, but where's the juice? Although lovely to gaze upon, the whole thing feels a bit precious and porcelain, more teapot than sexpot.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    This is an affecting picture that leaves the viewer as wrung out as the protagonist. No doubt you'll be seduced but, in the end, you may also feel abandoned.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Here, in orderly fiction, the reverberations bring about the alignment of cultures, the meeting of minds and the comforting assertion that "our lives aren't that different." Maybe so, and the film deserves full marks for trying, at times movingly, to convince us. In the end, the argument is a little too neat to accept, but far too poignant to ignore.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    By Herzog's lofty standards, the result is mildly disappointing. The film lacks the sociological depth of "The Executioner's Song" or the emotional wallop of "In Cold Blood." But it sure is a surpassingly, and compellingly, strange tale.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Occasionally, Rees's script seems to mimic Alike's poetry, and fall into its own slough of earnestness, as the stages of the girl's dawning enlightenment get dutifully ticked off like stations of the cross.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The principals are superb, with Mullan and Colman doing a masterful job of inhabiting their separate but equal prisons.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Not often does a film double as a literary critic, but this is the Northrop Frye of docs. Essentially, it revises and sharpens the blunted reputation of a great writer.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    What a strange, moving, puzzling, funny, frustrating and ultimately absorbing film this is.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    As the title more than hints, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is all about a leap of faith, and faith is exactly what this picture requires of us. Make the leap, and you'll be delighted by a movie that's sugary goodness, a guilty pleasure.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    There's much to observe – for example, the thoroughly credible performances of the cast, most of them non-professionals.
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    This is a mannered comedy, more stylized and theatrical, almost surreal at times, and less accommodating to his trademark brand of razor-sharp dialogue.
    • 74 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Indeed, like all bureaucracies, the educational version is a bit of a bully itself. In Sioux City at least, the official response to bullying is to recognize its existence but to deny it's an "overwhelming issue," and retreat behind the comforting bromide that "kids will be kids."
    • 82 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Happily, in his adaptation of the Terence Rattigan play, The Deep Blue Sea, Davies has found a setting close to his heart and a subject more nearly suited to his style.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Payback is nothing if not brave. It's a documentary attempt to give concrete shape to an abstract discussion, using the medium of film to transplant a nuanced thesis – on the concept of debt – from its natural home on the printed page.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Delight, a modest yet palpable measure of the stuff, is restored.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    So the interrogative title is left to hover over the ending, as it does over all those tension-filled places near and far. Speaking as a foolish man, I had high hopes for these wise women – given the historic alternative, I still do.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Yes, there are many splendid reasons to see Snow White and the Huntsman – enough, maybe, not to care that neither Snow White nor the Huntsman rank high among them.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Even by his stylistic standards, Anderson has cranked up the artifice.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    There's definite mastery here, but it's hardly a masterpiece.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Call me biased, but I'm quick to put out the welcome mat for any movie – good, bad or indifferent – that resists easy categorizing. That's certainly the charm of Safety NotGuaranteed, which flirts with two very different genres yet never goes steady with either.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Yes, this is the fascinating stuff, a rare (in pop culture) look at the complex nature of the love-sex equation – when it's too direct, when it's too vague, when it breaks down completely.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The Impossible looks back at a natural calamity with unflinching honesty. It sees fear and pain, it sees fortitude and bravery, but mainly it sees this: In that raging instant when the sea becomes its own monster, there's precious little to separate the devoured from the spared – nothing but the thin wedge of luck.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The results are generally refreshing. Much of the film takes place inside a theatre, as if to suggest the shenanigans of the Saint Petersburg aristocracy were a form of public entertainment.
    • 84 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Looper ups the ante like a poker player on speed. What a potpourri of genres we have here – noir again, but sci-fi too, and action and horror and psycho-drama with existential trimmings, the latter designed to invite the thinking viewer into the fray.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    In the end, cast and audience are having such fun that it seems almost mingy to complain when the church, lacking a foundation, collapses under the weight of its own cleverness.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The utterly bizarre story made national news when it broke, has since provided much magazine fodder, and popped up only two years ago adapted into a dramatic feature. Now it receives the documentary treatment and, in the devilishly manipulative hands of director Bart Layton, what a treatment it is – the weirdness just gets weirder.
    • 53 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The film commands our attention again as more connections emerge -- not enough to fully solve the mystery, but sufficient to convince us that Café de Flore amounts to more than the triumph of style over substance.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Society would do well to remember that, in large part, the most effective redress to the tragedy of AIDS came directly from the people with AIDS. Lest we forget, director David France is intent on reminding us.
    • 55 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    As for Daisy, her inflated role is problematic. Although at the periphery of the action, the woman stands at the centre of the film, doubling as the compromised love interest and our voice-over narrator. But even Linney can't bring her to life.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Despite the occasional stumble, the doc never falls, thanks to the sheer strength of its subjects' undaunted and indomitable character.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    By turns brutal and tender, Rust and Bone is a bullet train of heightened melodrama that refuses to derail.
    • 86 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Barbara is intriguing because the script subtly plays off that expectation, not denying it so much as expanding it, showing us that the grey world can contain, and even embrace, contradictory colours.
    • 54 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Dig just a shade beneath the surface, trade in the text for the subtext, and a more interesting picture emerges – a little richer, sadder, almost poignant. Arnie is back again, yet now, as a storied immigrant nearing the end of his tale, he's become an odd sight to behold.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Sometimes, the quiet lyricism of DuVernay’s direction seems at odds with the grittiness of the subject matter, like poetry force-fed into prose.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Pleasant because, instead of the usual hero-and-mayhem jive, Snitch is an honest exercise in workmanlike craft. This is to film what ceramic is to floors or Billy is to bookcase or what a third-line centre is to a winning hockey team – hardly great but good and solid and functional.
    • 91 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    As a political testament, the result is revealing and important. Yet as a documentary, it wanders here, there and everywhere – long on intensity but short on focus.
    • 39 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Lumpy title, lively movie. Dead Man Down proves to be a frisky gangster flick cum elaborate thriller cum off-beat romance. Yep, there’s a whole lot going on here, but this is one of those plot-heavy scripts that carries its weight with confidence – the intricate twists don’t cheat.
    • 83 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Love sometimes hurts, but love/hate is always pure anguish. That's the two-stroke engine powering I Killed My Mother ( J'ai tué ma mère), a coming-of-age tale as ferociously raw as its teller - the very young Xavier Dolan.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Not surprisingly, prison must be the perfect incubator of sadness and anger, because every one of the “performances” is astonishingly vivid. At the extremes of the emotional spectrum, at least, these guys are brilliant.
    • 44 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Is Funny Games an unqualified success? No, and for this reason: In order to analyze the devolution of violence into entertainment, the premise obliges the film to superimpose a complicated game atop the genre's simple one – in other words, it makes a game out of the game it condemns.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The result is a picture curiously yet intriguingly at odds with itself: One moment is edgy, the next is not; the cast is terrific, the direction is not; here it’s satirically sharp, there it’s sloppily sentimental; now we’re happily engaged, then we’re cruelly dumped. Some films are electric – Admission settles for alternating current.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Yossi is an early spring breeze of a film – too delicate to be substantial but definitely holding the promise of warmth.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Whether the film is uniquely brilliant or dismissively dumb is not the issue here. Either choice can (and will) be offered – it’s the choosing that counts.
    • 79 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    If you long for the bleak intelligence of an Ingmar Bergman film, where humankind is deeply flawed and God is indifferently silent and the landscape is cloaked in perpetual winter, then Beyond the Hills promises to be your cup of despair.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Remove the comma from the title and Love, Marilyn plays like the command it is.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Says the actor Jeff Bridges, a long-time and articulate soldier in the campaign against hunger: “It’s a problem that our government is ashamed of acknowledging. We’re in denial.”
    • 69 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    En route, despite some clumsy exposition and the reduction of heavyweights like Mary McCarthy and William Shawn to fifth-business caricatures, the film does manage one impressive intellectual achievement of its own: rescuing that “banality of evil” phrase from the banal cliché it’s become and, by providing the full and daring context, giving it real meaning again.
    • 65 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Still, credit Gondry, like Tocqueville before him, with at least re-examining tired clichés and scraping the rust off stereotypes.
    • 60 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    As the title more than hints, Love Is All You Need is no stranger to formulaic clichés, but it’s still a Bier film. There’s a sprinkling of vinegar in the treacle, a bit of ballast in fancy’s lightweight flight, and, of course, the triumph of optimism that can seem unearned in her dramas is made to measure in a comedy.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    How do you make a movie about shallow people in a shallow culture and not end up with a shallow movie? For writer-director Sofia Coppola, the answer is to dramatize a story “based on actual events,” then to step back and present it as a case study in pure anthropology.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    In the end, then, just Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp and those voices – their solos contain this picture like carved book-ends, vintage and lovely and still so profoundly of use.
    • 58 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The narrative meanders on occasion, the conceit can seem repetitious, the editing is loose. Nevertheless, buoyed by the naturalism of its exclusively young cast, the picture effectively gets into your head and under your skin.
    • 41 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    What do you get when you cross King Kong with E.T.? Harry And The Hendersons is what, and it's a delightful enough offspring - often funny, occasionally charming and always mighty eager to please. Too eager at times, but that's a forgivable flaw in an otherwise engaging hybrid. [5 June 1987]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 63 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    The cheery result is enough to renew one's faith in Uncle Walt and the boys - a family picture that transcends the cliche, a light-bright romp where the sentiment isn't cheap and where the action isn't childish. Now there's a novelty item for you. [27 June 1989]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 67 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Marshall treats everything, from the feminist themes to a soundtrack that features period chestnuts redone by contemporary singers, with a unique mix of the furiousand the subdued - a broad knee-slapper one moment, a delicate caress the next. No wonder we root for it. With the count full and our hopes wavering, A League Of Their Own smacks a stand-up triple and dares us not to cheer. Go ahead - give in and be a fan. [3 July 1992]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 76 Metascore
    • 75 Rick Groen
    Because of its patently commercial instincts, this is basically a black knock-off of a popular genre. Yet, despite those instincts, and despite the sophomoric moralizing, the movie has zest. The edges are sharp; it holds our attention by holding on to the vestiges of its unique black perspective. In that sense, House Party doesn't so much sell out as buy in - there are worse faults. [11 May 1990]
    • The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
    • 45 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Despite (or maybe because of) its showy cleverness, Full Frontal merely seems full of itself -- it's a small film made by a big ego pretending to a modesty he no longer feels.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    CQ
    CQ has a modicum of IQ and a dash of style -- the jury's still out on the extent of the inheritance, but the kid clearly learned something at his pater'sknee.
    • 48 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Women deserve better women's pictures -- men too.
    • 46 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Festival in Cannes is definitely Jaglomesque, but can't get that tricky balance right -- the result is a picture as charmingly insubstantial as the world it invokes.
    • 69 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    These are valid ideas, but they don't always arise organically out of the script, and can seem clumsily expressed.
    • 66 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    In the slow coast down Notting Hill, we approach the blessed land of Nodding Off.
    • 43 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    An exuberant mess of a movie. You despair at the mess, at the narrative and structural chaos; and yet you delight in the director's sheer infectious energy.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    The laughs in Working Girl are the laughs of near-recognition - just good enough to make us wish they were much better.
    • 63 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Despite Auteuil's performance, it's a rather listless amble down the middle of the road, where the thematic ironies are too obvious and the sexual politics too smug.
    • 42 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    A revisiting of George Pal's 1960 adaptation of the H. G. Wells novel. Pal's take on the book was visually delightful and occasionally clever; this one is always workmanlike and mainly pedestrian.
    • 64 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    We've got the trademark elements but not their magical bonding, and the result is a selection of scenes in search of a movie.
    • 75 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    To his credit, Beatty has designed Bulworth along the classic lines of Shakespeare's Fool -- the antic truth-speaker who has the ear of the court.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Well acted and crisply directed, this latest version can at least make a claim to competence.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    EXistenZ, unlike existence, just lacks that certain mystique.
    • 82 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Up and down, Late Marriage is definitely rocky, but there's never a point where we lose interest and want out -- as relationships go, that's not bad.
    • 68 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Ultimately, Little Voice comes to us from an indeterminate place that is no longer the theatre but not quite the movies. Let's call it music videoland -- best just to sit back and enjoy golden-oldie tunes belted out by a quicksilver mimic.
    • 77 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Crowe is too much the good employee to spin the yarn properly, to give the picture the very integrity it endorses. He might have made a more convincing movie had he first convinced himself.
    • 73 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Respectable by the tube's standards, even a cut above dumbed-down Hollywood, but hardly the stuff of creative renewal.
    • 51 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Windtalkers is to movies what Paris is to weather -- if you don't like the show you're watching, just wait a minute and an entirely different picture will blow into view.
    • 36 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Don't abandon Abandon. In the movies' long weekly line-up, it stands apart -- innocent of banality, and guilty of nothing more damning than intelligent effort that falls a tad short.
    • 56 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Always stylish and occasionally thrilling and never thoughtful.
    • 76 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    As manipulative as a charmer with a snake, and twice as much fun... Shameless, yes, but open your eyes, close your mind, sit back and enjoy - 'cause it feels so good.
    • 70 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    Even augmented by the priceless commodity of Smith's talent, $25,575 can only be stretched so far. Apparently, it won't buy you a stellar cast - some very strong lines receive some rather flat deliveries. And some distinctly lame scenes survive the chopping block.
    • 72 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    If the cinematography lacks the up-close-and-personal drama of "Blue Crush," it's still adequate to the occasion -- after all, like any star worth her salt, the ocean has yet to meet a camera she doesn't like.
    • 57 Metascore
    • 63 Rick Groen
    This is filmmaking as a minor feat of engineering, the kind where even the gossamer emotions seem like prefab components -- charm, whimsy, serendipity, all so many discs plugged into the hard drive.

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